Tag Archives: vaccine

If you don’t vaccinate your kids, should your kids be kept away from school, team sports, and youth groups? I vote “yes”!

I’ve told you in the past that when parents choose to not vaccinate their children, not only are their children at risk, but so are other children in the community. Here’s more proof of that. Continue reading

Florida measles cases increasing as parents have children exempted from vaccinations

The St. Petersburg (FL) Times reports that so far this year in Florida that this year more cases of measles “have been reported” than in the last 14 years. Why? Parents choosing to not vaccinate their kids … harming both their kids and the kids of others. Continue reading

Pediatric society rejects ‘personal belief’ exemption for vaccination of kids

Research has shown that children who are exempted from vaccinations have a 35-fold higher risk for measles, a 23-fold higher risk for pertussis and a nine-fold higher risk for varicella than do vaccinated children. Continue reading

Alternative Medicine and Children – Part 6 – Vaccination and Alternative Medicine

The anti-vaccination movement has no better friends than in the alternative medicine world. In the Massachusetts study mentioned in my last blog, less than one-third of the homeopaths recommended immunization, and almost 10 percent actively opposed immunization. In England, the most common reason given for not having children immunized is the recommendation parents receive from a homeopath. Continue reading

Public health officials urged to hold national discussion on vaccine risks, benefits

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Michael Willrich, an associate professor of history at Brandeis University, writes , “Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, roughly one in five Americans believes that vaccines cause autism—a disturbing fact that will probably hold true even after the publication, in a British medical journal, of a report thoroughly debunking the 1998 paper that began the vaccine-autism scare.” Continue reading

Autism and Childhood Vaccinations: The Myth is Finally Debunked

In a number of previous blogs, I’ve discussed vaccine myths, in an attempt to bring you information about vaccines that is reliable, trustworthy, and medically accurate. I recently found this review of the myth that vaccines cause autism and wanted to share it with you. It’s a discussion between Robert Dachs, MD, FAAFP (Ellis Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, Schenectady, New York), Andrea Darby-Stewart, MD (Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale, Arizona), and Mark Graber, MD, FACEP (University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa) and was published in the American Family Physician (2010 Sep 15;82(6):586-592).

Are childhood vaccinations associated with subsequent development of autism?

Bob: In 1998, a British gastroenterologist, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, published a report in the Lancet on eight children who developed symptoms of autism within one month of receiving the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.1 Since then, the media, advocacy groups, and celebrities have promulgated the link between childhood vaccinations (particularly the MMR vaccine) and the development of autism. But, is it true?

This month’s article clearly outlines the epidemiologic and biologic studies that should reassure physicians and parents that there is no connection between childhood vaccinations and autism.2 For the family physician, the data in this article are impressive and can be used to counter most parental concerns.

What does this article say?

Bob: This article reviews the three most commonly proposed hypotheses for vaccine-induced development of autism:

  1. the MMR vaccine damages the intestinal lining, allowing the entrance of encephalopathic proteins;
  2. thimerosal induces central nervous system toxicity; and
  3. multiple vaccinations overwhelm and weaken the immune system.

This article looks at the genesis of each theory and the data that debunk them.2

In regard to the MMR vaccine, Dr. Wakefield noted lymphoid nodular hyperplasia on endoscopy in eight children with gastrointestinal symptoms and signs of autism within one month of receiving the MMR vaccine. He then postulated that this intestinal inflammation allowed nonpermeable peptides into the bloodstream, subsequently affecting brain development.1

There are many holes in this argument.

  • First, this was a self-referred cohort without a control group.
  • Second, in Great Britain, approximately 50,000 children one to two years of age receive the MMR vaccine each month; this is a time when autism typically presents, making this likely a coincidental association.
  • Third, the MMR vaccine has not been found to cause chronic intestinal inflammation.
  • Fourth, no toxic encephalopathic proteins traveling from the intestine to the brain have ever been identified. Instead, genes that code for endogenous proteins, which influence neuronal synapse function, have been identified in children with autism.3

Mark: The most glaring flaw in the argument connecting an MMR-induced intestinal hyperplasia and subsequent autism development is assigning cause and effect to a potential association. Association should not be confused with causation.

Without a control group in the original study by Dr. Wakefield, it is imprudent to even suggest that there is an association between the MMR vaccine and intestinal lymphoid hyperplasia. Large-scale studies are often needed to demonstrate whether an association is statistically present.

Bob: The authors of this month’s article reviewed 13 such large-scale studies that demonstrate no association between the MMR vaccine and autism.2 These are separated into three types of studies:

Ecologic (studies comparing vaccination rates with autism diagnosis). In California and the United Kingdom, the diagnosis of autism increased through the 1980s and 1990s, yet MMR vaccination rates remained stable during this time.4,5 In Quebec, Canada, autism rates increased despite a decrease in MMR vaccination.6

Retrospective observational (studies comparing vaccination status with autism diagnosis using national registries). The best study was one conducted in Denmark in which 440,655 children born between 1991 and 1998 who received the MMR vaccine were compared with 97,648 children born during the same years who were not given the MMR vaccine. There were no differences in autism rates between the two groups.7

Prospective observational (a long-term vaccination project allows researchers to prospectively record adverse events associated with the MMR vaccine). In Finland, 1.8 million children were prospectively followed after MMR vaccination, and no cases of vaccine-induced autism were recorded.8

Andrea: To further refine the concept of association and causation, there are times when an association does represent a cause and effect. A good example is smoking and lung cancer rates. Clearly, smoking is associated with increased lung cancer rates, and a randomized, placebo-controlled trial is not needed to prove this. The association between smoking and lung cancer meets all of the following criteria: strength and consistency of the scientific data; existence of a temporal relationship (between smoking history and lung cancer); existence of a biologic gradient (increased exposure results in increased risk); a scientifically plausible association; and experimental interventions that work (smoking cessation decreases cancer rates).9 However, in the case of MMR vaccine–induced autism, none of these criteria are present. The data, in fact, overwhelmingly support no association.

Bob: Let’s briefly look at the second hypothesis of thimerosal-induced neurotoxicity. Thimerosal is an antibacterial agent that has been used in multidose vaccine preparations for more than 50 years. It is 50 percent ethyl mercury by weight. However, mercury poisoning has a distinctly different presentation than autism. The CDC has also demonstrated that the mercury in vaccines has not resulted in any subtle signs or symptoms of mercury poisoning.10 The authors of this month’s article review seven large-scale studies—again, ecologic, retrospective, and prospective studies—all demonstrating no association between thimerosal and autism.2

Mark: And, by the way, live vaccines like MMR do not contain thimerosal.

Bob: The third and final theory suggests that the simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines overloads the immune system, triggering autism in a susceptible host. However, because of advances in protein chemistry and DNA technology, the immunologic load has decreased from more than 3,000 immunologic components in the seven available vaccines in 1980 to less than 200 in the 14 recommended vaccines today.2

Andrea: Two more points: (1) an infant’s immune system is capable of handling the thousands of antigens it is exposed to early in life; and (2) autism is not an autoimmune disease. Therefore, this theory has no credibility.

Should we believe this study?

Bob: This month’s article clearly provides the science and statistics to dispel the theory that childhood vaccinations induce autism.2 A Cochrane review came to the same conclusion in October 2005.11

Andrea: Large-scale studies, smaller studies, retrospective studies, prospective studies, and case-control studies (you name it) all come to the same conclusion: there is no connection between vaccines and autism. The only outlier is Dr. Wakefield’s study, which suggests this possible link.1

Mark: Lo and behold, 10 of the 13 authors of Dr. Wakefield’s Lancet article have since publicly retracted the interpretation they reported.12 The editor of the Lancet has acknowledged that, had they appreciated the full context of Dr. Wakefield’s study, “… publication would not have taken place the way that it did.”13 On further review, the Lancet also recently published an official retraction of Dr. Wakefield’s study (http://press.thelancet.com/wakefieldretraction.pdf).

What should the family physician do?

Bob: Get this month’s article. It’s an easy read. Keep it handy for when parents are apprehensive about immunizing their child.

Andrea: A national survey conducted in 2003 to 2004 indicated that more than one fourth of all U.S. parents were either unsure of vaccine safety or refused or delayed vaccination of their children because of safety concerns. However, the most important take-home point from that survey was that the parents who changed their minds and immunized their children did so because of information and assurance provided by their health care professional.14 Indeed, we do make a difference!

Mark: Understand the consequences if we just give in to fear and myths. In 2008, only three fourths of preschool children in the United Kingdom received two doses of the MMR vaccine. The result: measles infection rates have reached more than 1,000 cases per year, the highest since monitoring began in 1995.15

Main Points

There are no epidemiologic or biologic studies that support a connection between childhood vaccinations and autism.

EBM Points

An association does not confer causation.

Multiple criteria should be examined when considering if an association implies causation, including strength, consistency, specificity, temporality, dose-response relationship, plausibility, coherence, experimental evidence, and analogy.9

REFERENCES:

  1. Wakefield  AJ, Murch  SH, Anthony  A, et al.  Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children [retraction published in Lancet. 2010;375(9713):445].  Lancet.  1998;35(9103):637–641.
  2. Gerber  JS, Offit  PA.  Vaccines and autism: a tale of shifting hypotheses.  Clin Infect Dis.  2009;48(4):456–461.
  3. Sutcliffe  JS.  Genetics: insights into the pathogenesis of autism.  Science.  2008;321(5886):208–209.
  4. Dales  L, Hammer  SJ, Smith  NJ.  Time trends in autism and in MMR immunization coverage in California.  JAMA.  2001;285(9):1183–1185.
  5. Kaye  JA, del Mar Melero-Montes  M, Jick  H.  Mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine and the incidence of autism recorded by general practitioners: a time trend analysis.  BMJ.  2001;322(7284):460–463.
  6. Fombonne  E, Zakarian  R, Bennett  A, Meng  L, McLean-Heywood  D.  Pervasive developmental disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: prevalence and links with immunizations.  Pediatrics.  2006;118(1):e139–e150.
  7. Madsen  KM, Hviid  A, Vestergaard  M, et al.  A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism.  N Engl J Med.  2002;347(19):1477–1482.
  8. Peltola  H, Patja  A, Leinikki  P, Valle  M, Davidkin  I, Paunio  M.  No evidence for measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine–associated inflammatory bowel disease or autism in a 14-year prospective study.  Lancet.  1998;351(9112):1327–1328.
  9. Simon S. Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. Causation. http://www.childrens-mercy.org/stats/ask/causation.asp. Accessed January 8, 2010.
  10. Thompson  WW, Price  C, Goodson  B, et al.; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team.  Early thimerosal exposure and neuropsychological outcomes at 7 to 10 years.  N Engl J Med.  2007;357(13):1281–1292.
  11. Demicheli  V, Jefferson  T, Rivetti  A, Price  D.  Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev.  2005;(4):CD004407.
  12. Murch  SH, Anthony  A, Cassen  DH, et al.  Retraction of an interpretation.  Lancet.  2004;363(9411):750.
  13. Horton  R.  The lessons of MMR.  Lancet.  2004;363(9411):747–749.
  14. Gust  DA, Darling  N, Kennedy  A, Schwartz  B.  Parents with doubts about vaccines and reasons why.  Pediatrics.  2008;122(4):718–725.
  15. Health Protection Agency. Measles figures soar. http://www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1227774034336?p=1204186170287. Accessed December 6, 2009.

For more information on EBM terms, see the EBM Toolkit here.

More Evidence That Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism

Children exposed to high, low levels of thimerosal had similar odds for the disorder as children with no exposure to thimerosal, a new study has found. This should be absolutely no surprise for two reasons: (1) since thimerosal has been removed from virtually all vaccines, there has been an INCREASE (not a decrease) in autism, and (2) no study has found any evidence of an association between thimerosal and autism. Here are the details from this newest study from HealthDay News:

Infants exposed to the highest levels of thimerosal, a mercury-laden preservative that used to be found in many vaccines, were no more likely to develop autism than infants exposed to only a little thimerosal, new research finds.

The study offers more reassurance to parents who worry that vaccination raises their children’s risk for autism, the researchers said.

“Prenatal and early life exposure to ethylmercury from thimerosal in vaccines or immunoglobulin products does not increase a child’s risk of developing autism,” concluded senior study author Dr. Frank DeStefano, director of the immunization safety office at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study was released in the journal Pediatrics.

Thimerosal has been used as a preservative in vaccines since the 1930s, according to background information in the article.

Concerns about the chemical began to crop up in 1999, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that because of the increased number of thimerosal-containing vaccines added to the infant vaccination schedule, infants may be exposed to too much mercury. Thimerosal used to be found in hepatitis B, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccines, among others.

During the ensuing years, the FDA worked with manufacturers to eliminate thimerosal from vaccines, according to the agency’s Web site. Today, thimerosal has been removed or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger, with the exception of inactivated seasonal flu vaccine, according to the FDA. Parents who are concerned about thimerosal can ask for a preservative-free version, DeStefano said.

And thimerosal wasn’t the only proposed autism-vaccine link. A 1998 paper in The Lancet suggested the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine might trigger autism. The journal later retracted the paper, and numerous studies have refuted any link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

In February of 2009, a U.S. federal court ruled that there was no scientific evidence linking vaccines to autism.

In the new study, researchers examined medical records and conducted interviews with the mothers of 256 children with an autism spectrum disorder and 752 children matched by birth year who did not have autism. The children were all members of three health care management organizations in California and Massachusetts.

Researchers also gathered information about the manufacture and lot number of the vaccines that the children received, to determine how much thimerosal they were likely exposed to.

Children in the highest 10 percent of thimerosal exposure, either prenatally or between infancy and 20 months, were no more likely to have autism, an autism spectrum disorder or autism spectrum disorder with regression than children in the lowest 10 percent of exposure.

“This study adds to a large body of evidence indicating that early thimerosal exposure through vaccination does not cause autism,” said Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer for a leading advocacy group, Autism Speaks. Dawson was not involved with the research.

She urged parents to have their children vaccinated.

“We encourage parents to have their children vaccinated and to establish a trusting relationship with their child’s pediatrician so they can discuss any concerns they have,” Dawson said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on thimerosal here.

Misinformation About Vaccine Safety Puts Kids at Risk of Illness

Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism

Misinformation About Vaccine Safety Puts Kids at Risk of IllnessAbout one-third of U.S. parents surveyed had delayed or refused early childhood immunizations. As I’ve told you in previous blogs, this is a decision that can potentially harm your child and his or her friends. Here’s a report from HealthFinder that confirms my beliefs:

Physicians report that children who don’t receive recommended vaccine doses by the time they’re 2 years old are at risk of developing a variety of diseases. But some anti-vaccine activists contend that the shots can cause side effects, including autism, although health officials say repeated studies have failed to uncover such a link.

For this study, researchers analyzed the results of a 2008 national survey of parents and health-care providers and found that almost one-third of U.S. parents surveyed delayed vaccines for their very young children and 12 percent simply refused to have their children immunized, possibly making them more vulnerable to illness.

Thirty-one percent of parents with children aged 24 to 35 months reported that they’d delayed vaccine doses on purpose in 2008. In fact, the percentage of parents who either delayed or refused to immunize their children grew from 22 percent in 2003 to 39 percent in 2008.

Not all the non-vaccinating parents oppose immunization; 44 percent of the parents who didn’t vaccinate their children on schedule said their child was ill. In addition, 27 percent thought too many shots were recommended; 26 percent questioned whether vaccines were effective; 25 percent were concerned about autism; and 24 percent said they feared side effects or thought vaccines weren’t entirely safe.

The study was scheduled to be presented Tuesday at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, May 4, 2010)

Here are some of my other popular blogs on the topic:

Also, I did a popular series on VACCINE MYTHS. You can review the series starting with the first one:

Though unproven, 1 in 4 parents believes vaccines cause autism

The New York Times, in Vital Signs, reports that one in four parents “think some vaccines cause autism in healthy children, and nearly one in eight have refused at least one recommended vaccine,” according to a study published online March 1 in the journal Pediatrics.

The USA covered the story with this article:

Most parents continue to follow the advice of their children’s doctors, according to a study based on a survey of 1,552 parents. Extensive research has found no connection between autism and vaccines.

“Nine out of 10 parents believe that vaccination is a good way to prevent diseases for their children,” said lead author Dr. Gary Freed of the University of Michigan. “Luckily their concerns don’t outweigh their decision to get vaccines so their children can be protected from life-threatening illnesses.”

In 2008, unvaccinated school-age children contributed to measles outbreaks in California, Illinois, Washington, Arizona and New York, said Dr. Melinda Wharton of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thirteen percent of the 140 who got sick that year were hospitalized.

“It’s fortunate that everybody recovered,” Wharton said, noting that measles can be deadly. “If we don’t vaccinate, these diseases will come back.”

Fear of a vaccine-autism connection stems from a flawed and speculative 1998 study that recently was retracted by a British medical journal. The retraction came after a council that regulates Britain’s doctors ruled the study’s author acted dishonestly and unethically.

The new study is based on a University of Michigan survey of parents a year ago, long before the retraction of the 1998 study. However, much has been written about research that has failed to find a link between vaccines and autism. Mainstream advocacy groups like Autism Speaks strongly encourage parents to vaccinate their children.

“Now that it’s been shown to be an outright fraud, maybe it will convince more parents that this should not be a concern,” said Freed, whose study appears in the April issue of Pediatrics, released Monday.

Some doctors are taking a tough stand, asking vaccine-refusing parents to find other doctors and calling such parents “selfish.”

A statement from a group practice near Philadelphia outlines its doctors’ adamant support for government recommended vaccines and their belief that “vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.”

“Furthermore, by not vaccinating your child you are taking selfish advantage of thousands of other who do vaccinate their children … We feel such an attitude to be self-centered and unacceptable,” the statement says, urging those who “absolutely refuse” vaccines to find another physician.

“We call it the manifesto,” said Dr. Bradley Dyer of All Star Pediatrics in Lionville, Pa.

Dozens of doctors have asked to distribute the statement, Dyer said, and only a handful of parents have taken their children elsewhere.

“Parents have said, ‘Thank you for saying that. We feel much better about it,'” Dyer said.

The new study is based on an online survey of parents with children 17 and younger. It used a sample from a randomly selected pool of nationally representative participants. Households were given Internet access if they didn’t already have it to make sure families of all incomes were included. Vaccines weren’t mentioned in the survey invitation and vaccine questions were among others on unrelated topics.

Twenty-five% of the parents said they agreed “some vaccines cause autism in healthy children.” Among mothers, 29% agreed with that statement; among fathers, it was 17%.

Nearly 12% of the parents said they’d refused a vaccine for their children that a doctor recommended. Of those, 56% said they’d refused the relatively new vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer. Others refused vaccines against meningococcal disease (32%), chickenpox (32%) and measles-mumps-rubella (18%).

Parents who refused the HPV vaccine, recommended for girls since 2006, cited various reasons.

Parents who refused the MMR vaccine, the shot most feared for its spurious autism link, said they’d read or heard about problems with it or felt its risks were too great.

The findings will help doctors craft better ways to talk with parents, said Dr. Gary S. Marshall of the University of Louisville School of Medicine and author of a vaccine handbook for doctors.

“For our children’s sake, we have to think like scientists,” said Marshall, who was not involved in the new study. “We need to do a better job presenting the data so parents understand how scientists have reached this conclusion that vaccines don’t cause autism.”

U.S. study clears measles vaccine of autism link
Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? A redux
Special court rules against families who claim vaccines caused autism
Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism
You can read some of my blogs on autism here:

Survey Shows Parents Still Worry Unnecessarily About Vaccines

Most parents believe vaccination is a good way to protect their children from potentially deadly diseases, but a study shows more than half still worry about the possibility of vaccine side effects. The study concludes: Although parents overwhelmingly share the belief that vaccines are a good way to protect their children from disease, these same parents express concerns regarding the potential adverse effects and especially seem to question the safety of newer vaccines. Although information is available to address many vaccine safety concerns, such information is not reaching many parents in an effective or convincing manner.

Here’s an article on the survey from WebMD:

The study shows 88% of parents follow the child immunization schedule recommended by their doctor, but 54% are concerned about serious vaccine side effects.

Researcher Gary L. Freed, MD, MPH of the department of pediatrics and communicable diseases at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and his colleagues say parents who are concerned about vaccine side effects are less likely to vaccinate their children. In fact, the study showed one in every eight parents has refused at least one vaccine recommended by their child’s physician.

Newer vaccines, such as varicella, meningococcal conjugate, and HPV (human papillomavirus) were more likely to be refused than older vaccines like the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine).

In the study, researchers surveyed 1,552 parents about their attitudes regarding vaccines. Overall, 90% of parents said vaccines were a good way to protect their children from disease, and 88% said they generally do what their doctors say regarding vaccination.

However, the results show that despite a lack of scientific evidence supporting a link between autism and vaccinations, more than one in five parents continue to believe that some vaccines cause autism in healthy children.

Women were more likely than men to believe some vaccines cause autism, to be concerned about vaccine side effects, and to have ever refused a vaccine recommended for their children by a doctor.

The study also showed that Hispanic parents were more likely than white or African-American parents to say they followed their doctor’s recommended immunization schedule and less likely to have ever refused a vaccine. But Hispanic parents were also more likely to believe in a link between autism and vaccinations and be concerned about vaccine side effects.

“Although information is available to address many vaccine safety concerns, such information is not reaching parents in an effective or convincing manner,” write the researchers. “Continued high childhood immunization rates will be at risk if current safety concerns are not addressed effectively and increase in the future, resulting in more parents refusing vaccines.”

You can read more about vaccine myths in my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child.

Here are other blogs in this series you might find useful:

Using acetaminophen (Tylenol) following vaccination may reduce efficacy

When children and adults in my practice receive a vaccine, I recommend ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce discomfort, inflammation, or low-grade fever. Now comes a study that will change my practice. Continue reading

Vaccine Myth #2: Vaccines Don’t Work

This is the second entry in a series from my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child.

Probably the best recent example of the positive impact of vaccines is the Hib vaccine, which prevents meningitis, ear infections, and other serious infections caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).

When the current Hib vaccine was introduced to this country in 1990, Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis.

For decades, Hib had caused approximately 15,000 cases of meningitis and 400 to 500 deaths every year. After the current Hib vaccine was introduced, the incidence of Hib meningitis declined to fewer than fifty cases per year—typical of all widely used vaccines. Continue reading

HPV vaccine (Gardasil) expert questions vaccination for young girls

Dr. Diane Harper, a friend of mine, is one of the lead researchers for the HPV vaccine (Gardasil), and now “is speaking out about its risks, benefits, and aggressive marketing.”  Continue reading

Reader wants more proof on vaccine safety

A reader recently wrote: Hi Dr Walt I am having trouble finding a peer review or non drug company funded study proving that vaccines work out of the 2,427 (studies) you link to. Can you please identify one good one of these studies that proves they work for all the readers to read. Thanks.

More Information: Continue reading

Researchers say non-vaccinated children face dramatically increased whooping cough risk

A new study reports, “Children who aren’t vaccinated against whooping cough are 23 times more likely to develop the disease than children who get all of their shots on time.” The study, “of 751 children enrolled in Kaiser Permanente of Colorado,” revealed that “one in 20 children who skipped the vaccine developed whooping cough, compared with one in 500 vaccinated children.”

More information: Continue reading

More on the Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children

A past blog, that has been very popular, was on the topic of the Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children (Friday, 6 February 2009). In response to that blog, Kelly wrote, “Hello, I was just wondering if you could answer a question for me. I run a day care out of my home. I was recently inquired about watching a girl who is 2 and has never been vaccinated or seen a doctor. I was wondering if this was any risk to myself or the other children in my day care? Thank you for your time.” I thought you might be interested in my response to her.

More Information: Continue reading

Parents continue to have unwarranted fears and delusions about pediatric vaccines.

Infants and children get a lot of shots (vaccinations) to prevent against many different potentially fatal diseases. For this reason, parents or caregivers sometimes ask us as healthcare professionals to space apart, separate, or even not give some vaccines. Parents are worried that their child cannot handle so many shots at the same time. This is one of many concerns that parents may have about vaccinations. This blog entry provides you and your friends the facts about vaccines, to help you make an informed and wise decision about what’s best for your child. Please share this information with as many parents as you can.

More Information: Continue reading

ABCs of Childhood Vaccine Safety

My blog, “Radio Listeners ‘Angry as Hornets’ About Dr. Walt’s Comments on Childhood Vaccination”  raised howls of protest from blog constituents. Many of those who wrote comments simply do not understand how safe and effective vaccines are. They don’t seem to understand how vaccines are tested and then how throughly they are followed once licensed. If you’re interested in the truth about vaccine safety, and not the spin, read on. With this information you’ll not only share my (and virtually the entire medical world’s) about the safety of vaccines, but you’ll be able to help others who have been, unfortunately, indoctrinated (and, in some cases, brainwashed) by the fringe and fanatical antivaccine crazies.

Read More: Continue reading

Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children

From 1958 to 1962, over a half a million cases of measles are reported each year. 432 measles-related deaths occur on average each year. But in 1963, the measles vaccine was licensed. By 2000, only 81 cases of measles are reported in all of the U.S.! And, most of those in the children of parents who chose not to immunize their kids. In fact, it has just been announced that measles cases in England and Wales have risen by more than 70 percent in 2008 from the previous year, mostly because of unvaccinated children.

More Information: Continue reading

Radio Listeners ‘Angry as Hornets’ About Dr. Walt’s Comments on Childhood Vaccination

I was being interviewed about childhood vaccination on the KTIS radio station that broadcasts in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. During the interview I stated, “In my opinion, parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are committing a form of child abuse.” According to the station, my comments “stirred up a hornet’s nest.”

More Information: Continue reading

Vaccine Myth #8: A Preservative Contained in Many Vaccines Harms Children

In 1999, a study revealed that the preservative thimerosal, a mercury-containing compound present in many vaccines, caused several infants to have levels of mercury in their blood that exceeded guidelines recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Preservatives are used in vaccines to reduce the risk of contamination by bacteria once the vial is opened. Exposure to high levels of mercury, especially in the developing child before birth, is associated with neurological disturbances. Therefore, parents began to fear that thimerosal may cause neurological difficulties, like autism. When this study was first described, physicians, scientists, and public health officials quickly assessed the situation and found that:

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Vaccine Myth #7: Vaccines Weaken the Immune System

Natural infection with certain viruses can weaken the immune system. So when children are infected with one virus, they can’t fight off other viruses or bacteria as easily. This happens most notably during natural infection with chicken pox or measles. Children infected with chicken pox are susceptible to certain bacterial infections (MRSA or flesh-eating bacteria, for example). Children infected with measles are more susceptible to bacterial infections (resulting in sepsis) of the bloodstream. But vaccines are different.

Continue reading

Vaccine Myth #6: It’s Better to Be Naturally Infected Than Immunized

It is true that natural infection almost always causes better immunity than vaccination. In fact, only the Hib and tetanus vaccines are better at inducing immunity than natural infection.

Natural infection causes immunity after just one infection, but vaccines usually create immunity only after several doses over a period of time.

Continue reading

Vaccine Myth #5: Infants Are Too Young to Get Vaccinated

The Myth – Infants are too young to get vaccinated.

The Truth – It’s very important to make sure that infants are fully immunized against certain diseases by the age of six months. Continue reading

Should Parents Refuse Abortion-Based Vaccines?

There’s a news story out this week about a Coast Guard officer who was told that he must take a vaccine that was derived based on tissue from an unborn child that had been aborted. 

The officer refused the vaccine based upon his religious beliefs that abortion is wrong.

After a lawsuit was filed by the Alliance Defense Fund, the Coast Guard decided to allow a religious exemption.

“Members of our military should never have to choose between honoring their country and honoring their faith,” argued ADF attorneys in the case of Coast Guard officer Joseph Healy.

I agree with my friend, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, who said, “We applaud the military for recognizing that Healy is deserving of the same freedoms that he has spent his career defending.” 

But, what about parents who face this same decision when immunizing their children.

Is it true that there are vaccines derived from aborted babies?

And, if so, should parents who believe abortion is wrong refuse these vaccines?

Continue reading

Vaccine Myth #4: Vaccines Are Unsafe

Despite what is often falsely reported in the media and at many scaremongering web sites, all recommended vaccines are extraordinarily safe.

When you consider that the 3.5 to 4 million children born every year in the United States receive more than twenty different vaccines to protect them from at least eleven different preventable diseases by the time they are six years old, and that some of these vaccines have existed for more than fifty years, I think you’ll agree that the record of vaccine safety in this country is remarkable. Continue reading

Vaccine Myth #3: Vaccines Aren’t Necessary

A huge story is breaking today, about what the Washington Post is calling “the largest resurgence” of measles since 2001.

This story should, by itself, put this myth to rest.

And, the story is unfolding in 10 states, with at least 72 people ranging from infants to the elderly becoming ill. And all but one of them were unvaccinated. Continue reading